Saif al-Islam Gaddafi Fast Facts

Father: Muammar Gaddafi, former leader of Libya for 42 years

Mother: Safiya (Farkash) Gaddafi

Education: El Fateh University, Libya, Degree in Architectural Engineering, 1994; Imadek University, Vienna, Austria, MBA, 2000; London School of Economics PhD 2008

Military service: Libyan military, November 1994 – November 1995

Other facts

The second son of Muammar Gaddafi and was once considered his heir.

Wrote a doctoral dissertation. dissertation on the topic “The role of civil society in the democratization of global governance institutions”. There are claims that parts of the dissertation were plagiarized.

Was described as having a close relationship with British politicians and the aristocracy.

Prior to the 2011 Libyan civil war, he was considered a moderate compared to his father.

As a result of a NATO strike in May 2011, his younger brother with the same name, Saif al-Arab Gaddafi, was killed.

Held in the Libyan city of Zintan by a militia group from November 2011 to June 2017.

Wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged crimes against humanity.


August 2008 – Announces on state television that he is retiring from politics, stating: “I have decided not to interfere in government affairs.”

August 2009 – Gaddafi’s escort freed Lockerbie terrorist Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi on a private jet back to Libya.
February 21, 2011 – Addresses the Libyan people about the unrest in the country in an unrecorded televised speech, and warns of civil war and poverty if citizens side with protesters against the Libyan government.

February 27, 2011 – Tells ABC’s Christiane Amanpour that his father has no plans to retire.

June 27, 2011 – Arrest warrant for Saif al-Islam issued by ICChis father and uncle Abdullah Senussi for their role in crimes against humanity in putting down the uprising of the Libyan people.

August 21, 2011 – It is reported that, along with Saadi Gaddafi, another of the sons of Muammar Gaddafi, Gaddafi was detained by opposition forces.

August 23, 2011 – Gaddafi appears at the Rixos Hotel, refuting the rebels’ claim that he and his two brothers are in their custody. In a brief interview with CNN’s Matthew Chance, he said his father and several of his sisters are safe in Tripoli.

August 31, 2011 – Gives an interview to Rai TV in Syria. He talks about his father: “the leader is fine” and “we will soon have victory” and that “each of you is Muammar Gaddafi. Wherever you see an enemy, attack him. They are weak, they have suffered many losses, and they are now licking their wounds.”
October 20, 2011 – Muammar Gaddafi dies of a gunshot wound to the head after being captured by rebels in his hometown of Sirte, Libya. Mutassim, another son of Muammar Gaddafi, was also killed.

October 28, 2011 – Luis Moreno-Ocampo, chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Court, confirms that the ICC is in “informal talks” for Gaddafi’s surrender.

November 19, 2011 – Gaddafi is captured after a shootout in southern Libya.

January 23, 2012 – The Libyan authorities have decided that they want his trial to take place in Tripoli. The International Criminal Court has not yet decided where the trial will take place.

April 5, 2012 – The ICC announces that Libya must hand over Gaddafi immediately for trial in The Hague on an outstanding warrant for crimes against humanity. Libya filed an appeal against the ICC ruling on April 10, saying it needed to be given more time to come up with its own arguments.

June 8, 2012 – A four-member delegation from the ICC was detained in Libya for trying to hand over documents to Gaddafi. ICC staff released on 2 July 2012.

October 9, 2012 – The Libyan government argues that it should not refer Gaddafi’s case to the ICC because the court in The Hague, the Netherlands, does not have jurisdiction over the case.
May 31, 2013 – The ICC rejects Libya’s offer to try Gaddafi and asks the nation to extradite him.
April 27, 2014 – Gaddafi appears via video link from a courtroom in the Libyan city of Zintan to a trial in a court in Tripoli. The militias who captured Gaddafi in Zintan in 2011 are refusing to hand him over to the central government, citing security concerns. Gaddafi and dozens of former senior regime officials in Tripoli have been charged with trying to quell the 2011 uprising, including the murder of protesters, a crime punishable by death.

May 21, 2014 – The ICC Appeals Chamber rejects all four of Libya’s appeals and upholds the earlier decision to transfer Gaddafi to The Hague by Libya.

May 25, 2014 – The fourth session of Gaddafi’s trial in Tripoli, Libya, is taking place despite a recent ICC ruling that Gaddafi should try the ICC in The Hague in the Netherlands.
July 28, 2015 – A court in Tripoli sentenced Gaddafi to death in absentia. Gaddafi is not in court; he was last known to be held by a militia group in the northwestern city of Zintan.
June 10, 2017 – Abu Bakr al-Sidiq militants said in a statement that Gaddafi, whom they had held since 2011, was released in accordance with the “General Amnesty Law” passed by the Libyan House of Representatives. A close associate of Saif told CNN that Gaddafi was released on June 9, but did not disclose Gaddafi’s current whereabouts, citing security concerns.
April 5, 2019 – The ICC ruled that the case against Gaddafi was admissible. In June 2018, Gaddafi’s defense filed an admissibility complaint, alleging that Gaddafi was convicted by the Tripoli Criminal Court in 2015 of similar crimes and was released “on or about April 12, 2016” under a general amnesty law.
March 9, 2020 – ICC Appeals Chamber rejects Gaddafi’s appeal and affirms unanimously that the case against him is admissible.
November 14, 2021 – Gaddafi is registered as a presidential candidate, running for almost the first time in a decade.

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